Laytonville held off a second-half comeback by host Tomales and the Warriors defeated the Braves, 44-24, on a fog-covered playing field in Marin County Friday night.
The Braves gave renewed hope to their fans by scoring all of their points in the second half in their first contest of the season. It was the same score as in the meeting between the two teams last year.
Tomales fell behind early by a whopping 38-0 after two quarters by failing to contain the Warrior running game that produced five touchdowns on 179 yards on the ground. Laytonville backs routinely burst into the open behind some good blocking and outdistanced the trailing Brave defenders until Tomales made some defensive adjustments in the second half.
Frustrated Brave defenders were caught too far out of position to overhaul the Warrior runs to pay dirt. A sixth touchdown was scored by the Warriors (1-1) on a 46-yard return of a punt by Andy Azevedo of Tomales in the second quarter.
The Braves could have folded their tent after their disappointing effort in the first half, but that didn’t happen. Tomales came back strong, responded to halftime encouragement by coach Dom Sachelli, and regrouped behind the smooth quarterbacking of Brady Woodward to dominate ball possession. The Braves outscored Laytonville, 24-6, in the second half.
A preview of what was to come came on the last play of the first half came when Azevedo got to the outside on a running play and galloped 27 yards for only the second first down of the night for the Braves.
For the most part, Tomales stuck to the script in the early going on pitches to Azevedo and inside handoffs to Chris Bernal. Three drives ended in disappointment on short-yardage situations, but Tomales did not abandon its conservative running game.
A 28-yard toss from Woodward to Azevedo was the only other big offensive strike for Tomales until the second half. Otherwise the Braves had no answer for the quick-striking Laytonville offense until the second half.
Led by the all-around play of Azevedo and the steadiness of Woodward, the Braves had some comeback in them after intermission, but it was too little and too late. Still, it gave Tomales hope for the future because nobody on the team will be lost next season.
Azevedo was the most used running back and showed an ability to gather in passes from Woodward. Both were on display in the second half.
Newcomer Riker Whitt and returning sophomore lineman Concho Padilla had promising moments on the defensive side of the football.
Tomales continues play on Saturday when the Braves travel to Round Valley in Covelo.